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Published: Jun 13, 2023 12 min read

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Some businesses looking to hire a psychologist may be looking for a full-time employee, while others may only need their services on a temporary basis. Perhaps they’re looking to help mediate in disputes or issues between employees, or help guide a team through the grieving process. A psychologist hired on a freelance basis can also be hired to help determine how engaged and satisfied your employees are.

Regardless, it can be hard to know where to start looking. Job posting sites such as ZipRecruiter can be a great aid, sending your post to over 100 boards with one click.

If you’re unsure how to hire a psychologist or even where to start getting applications, this guide will help you.

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What is a psychologist?

Psychologists are a type of mental health professional that deals with mental health issues.

For most psychologists, schooling involves getting a doctoral degree of either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Some states require psychologists to have a master’s degree along with a doctorate in order to get a license.

Requirements to become a licensed psychologist vary by state. Still, they may require an internship or postdoctoral program, one to two years of supervised professional experience and passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. It’s also common that psychologists must continue to take new courses that will keep them up to date to keep their licenses.

According to a May 2022 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries with the most psychologists are:

  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Physician offices
  • Individual and family services
  • Hospitals
  • What do psychologists do?

Psychologists evaluate and treat patients with mental health and behavioral issues. They can utilize a wide range of treatment plans to get the best results from their patients, including:

  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Psychosocial interventions
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Prescribing medications

Because psychologists don’t attend medical school, they aren’t medical professionals. Unlike psychiatrists, who do attend medical school, psychologists cannot prescribe medications. Psychologists often use psychotherapy, or talk therapy, to help patients improve their mental health. Psychologists may work with doctors, psychiatrists or other healthcare professionals to help provide treatment or get medication prescribed for patients. Some common conditions that psychologists may treat are:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

How to hire a psychologist

There is no easy formula for hiring the perfect psychologist for your business. You’ll need to decide if you’re looking for a full-time or freelance psychologist and then put in some time and effort to find great candidates. Once you’ve received enough resumes, you’ll need to narrow down your list, interview the top applicants and determine who will best fulfill the role of psychologist in your company.

Know which type of psychologist you want to hire

Before placing employment ads and gaining interest from candidates, it helps to understand the differences between types of psychologists.

  • Clinical psychologist: These psychologists have a master’s or doctorate in clinical psychology. They work directly with patients of all ages to improve their mental well-being.
  • Forensic psychologist: Forensic psychologists work within the legal system and may perform tasks like evaluating witnesses in a court case or selecting the jury.
  • Criminal psychologist: These psychologists will research and study the criminal mind, often helping to determine motives when crimes have been committed or assisting in interrogations.
  • School psychologist: These psychologists work in schools and support both students and teachers who may experience mental health or behavioral issues.
  • Military psychologist: Military psychologists work in the armed forces and can assist the military in several ways, including consultation, clinical care, research relating to military personnel and operations and education.
  • I/O psychologist: Industrial and organizational psychologists work within a company to study and improve things like employee attitude and satisfaction, performance management, staffing and organizational development.

Write a thorough psychologist job description

Posting on job board sites is an excellent way to bring awareness to your open position. When someone does an online search for full-time jobs near me, their results will most likely be from job board sites. The more platforms you utilize, the more applicants your post will reach. You should research the best job posting sites for employers and post your opening on all of them.

You may also want to create a career page. Career pages are not the same as a posting on a job board site, but they can be just as valuable. By creating a career page, you can promote your business online however you see fit. You can show off your company's culture by sharing images and videos of your staff as well as explaining what makes your company than the competition. Career pages are great tools for advertising your business's brand. If you already have a page, learn how to create a better career page to attract top talent.

You'll want to write up an engaging and alluring job description to ensure you get applications from quality psychologist candidates through your job posts or career page. One way to do this is to use a psychologist job description template like this one by ZipRecruiter, and fill in the specific details about your open position and company. Include essential information, such as requirements that the applicants must possess, the duties they'll be responsible for and the experience and skillsets you're looking for.

Required and preferred qualifications

Psychologists need to receive multiple degrees to be eligible to get a license. Most psychologists get a degree in psychology, social science or education for their bachelor’s degree and will need to complete enough schooling to receive either a Ph.D. or a PsyD. Depending on the specialization of the psychologist, candidates may need to participate in an internship or a postdoctoral fellowship and pass an exam before they can become licensed psychologists.

Ensure that all candidates for psychologist positions have met the requirements to practice in your state. Depending on their specialty area, they may need to show they’ve received additional certifications and training.

Experience and skills

Depending on your preferences and the requirements for the position you’re hiring for, make sure that the candidates have the appropriate levels of experience and skill. You should also look for skillsets to enhance their work in your role. Some psychologist skills you may want to look for include:

  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills

Responsibilities and expectations

Before interviewing your candidates, decide what responsibilities your new hire must take on. Consider what role a psychologist will play in your organization. Also, clearly define your expectations to ensure the candidates understand the position they are applying for.

Some common job responsibilities for psychologists include:

  • Conducting research and scientific studies
  • Evaluating patients
  • Diagnosing mental health disorders
  • Developing treatment plans
  • Administering psychological tests
  • Assisting other professionals

Prepare your interview questions

Job interviews are usually stressful to job seekers, but they can be equally nerve-wracking to employers. Before interviewing your applicants, you'll need to sort through the resumes you've accumulated and determine the most suitable candidates for your business.

When it comes time to interview, carefully pick out questions ahead of time and decide what type of answers you're looking for. Some questions you can ask are:

  • Have you ever had a client who refused to openly share their thoughts and emotions with you? How did you proceed?
  • What is the biggest challenge you've had to overcome as a psychologist?
  • How do you keep up with the most current trends in psychology?

Focusing on behavioral interview questions by asking specific examples and real-life experiences will lead to more productive interviews. These questions push candidates to dig into their past experience to show their thought processes, problem-solving abilities and reflections on the incidents.

Complete the interview process and select your hire

After interviewing the top candidates for your psychologist position, compare the results, filter resumes through one of the best background check sites and then make a decision. When you’ve zeroed in on your top choice, extend an offer. If they accept, you and your hiring manager can begin onboarding and get your new hire ready to start in their new role.

Because the hiring process can often be long and tedious, learning how to retain employees is beneficial. Many tips and techniques can keep your employees happy and working hard, saving you time and money in the long run.

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Where to find psychologists for hire

Finding a pool of candidates to choose from can be intimidating. There are multiple ways to get the word out about your job opening. One online resource available is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a software that can simplify and enhance your recruiting strategy and hiring process, assisting with tasks like:

  • Creating job postings
  • Importing resumes
  • Sifting through resumes
  • Planning your interviews
  • Keeping track of your candidates

You can check out the best practices for using an ATS to learn how it can help your hiring process.

While an ATS will be helpful, you’ll still need to manage some other tasks to draw appeal to your target group of job seekers. Utilizing some of the best recruiting software can make for a good start. You’ll also want to take other steps, including job board sites, medical partnerships, your own network and a career page.

Depending on your industry, you may have colleagues or coworkers who know qualified candidates who would fit your system well. Setting up an employee referral program can help save your business time and money instead of hiring external recruiters. Asking family and friends for referrals may also pay off and result in finding top talent. You might also be able to find high-level psychologists through your network.

Psychologist FAQ

What are the total hiring costs for a psychologist?

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The total costs of hiring a psychologist will vary thanks to multiple factors. First, you must decide which type of psychologist you'll want to hire. You must also determine which specific and preferred skills, qualifications, and experiences best suit your company. Keep in mind that salary ranges for psychologists differ depending on your state.

How much do psychologists make?

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The salaries of psychologists will differ due to several factors, including their specialization, experience and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average national estimated salary for clinical and counseling psychologists in May 2022 was $102,740 per year.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

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If you're experiencing mental health problems and looking for a professional to help you with behavioral therapy, you can speak with a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Most psychologists get a doctorate and specialize in using psychological evaluations and psychotherapy to help their patients cope with mental health and life issues. Psychiatrists can provide similar services, but because they must complete medical school, psychiatrists can also prescribe medicines to treat mental illnesses.

What is a clinical psychologist?

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Clinical psychologists work with patients to improve their well-being and help them deal with mental health issues. The most common type of therapy that clinical psychologists use is psychotherapy or talk therapy. State requirements for clinical psychologists vary but usually include getting a doctorate and completing a postdoctoral fellowship.

What is a forensic psychologist?

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Forensic psychologists often work within the criminal justice system to assist in legal situations. These psychologists may aid in tasks like selecting juries, evaluating witnesses and testifying in court as an expert in psychology. Forensic psychologists must earn a Ph.D. or a PsyD.

Summary of Money’s how to hire psychologists

There are multiple ways to generate interest for your open psychologist position. By considering what requirements, skills and experience your candidates should have and then creating an online presence through a career page and job posting, you should be able to find some suitable candidates. After interviewing the candidates and selecting the best one, you can hire a psychologist for your business.

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